African Managers in British Businesses

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Promoting African staff in formerly imperial British multinationals required significant changes to internal operations in organizations shaped by expatriate leadership. This chapter first discusses the changing relationship between expatriates and Africans and how companies constructed the notion of cultural and social distance between these two groups of employees. Many firms opted to develop staff training schemes to imbue corporate cultures and expectations to prepare Africans for management. British business leaders were concerned about whether they could trust their African staff, especially at times of rising anti-colonial and nationalist sentiment. As a group of employees, African staff also became more fractured in their interests – those who were promoted to managerial positions and better benefits and those who were not. In mining, the question of whom the African trade unions could represent and whether that included African managers led to conflicts. The rising economic nationalism of the 1970s created more opportunities for African managers in senior leadership positions in multinationals and to go alone in an entrepreneurial venture, sometimes competing with their former employers.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPostcolonial Transition and Global Business History
Subtitle of host publicationBritish Multinational Companies in Ghana and Nigeria
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages25
ISBN (Electronic)9781003001058
ISBN (Print)9780367428105
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Studies in Business History


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